Real Estate has become quite the hobby for my partner Ryan and I. We have acquired multiple investment properties, along with multiple flips. We hired my brother (Kyle) full time to help us work on these properties and to help us with maintenance at Stable Living. My brother has been a massive help with fixing up and flipping properties! In order to get the properties for Kyle to fix up, we have to find good enough deals to flip. So, how do we find real estate in this crazy market?
We start by driving around neighborhoods we think may have houses or multi-family properties we would be interested in. If we find some houses with junky vehicles in the driveway, siding or roof deteriorating, long grass, junk in the yard, we take the address down. This is typically what we are looking for, when we are looking for our flip properties. When looking for multi-family, we take down every address of every multi-family property. We look for quantity when doing this step. We want as many addresses as we can get. Once we have a stock pile of addresses we go back to the office.
We then take the address of the property we were looking at, look up the property online, either on OnX or the city land records to find out the individuals name and tax address for the property we found. Ryan has a write up explaining what him and I do and he sends letters out to the addresses we are interested in. He will send out hundreds of letters and it is typical for us to get 1 response per hundred mailers. This method is simple, drive around, find what you are interested in, send mass mailers to all the addresses you think would work for you.
The second method we use is cold calling. So, similar to the first step, we start by driving around. We find some properties we are interested in and we write down the addresses. We do not make as extensive as a list here. We take the addresses back to our office, look up who owns the properties, and use a system to skip trace the individuals. Skip tracing is the act of looking up peoples information, if you use a good system, you can get more reliable data. This system looks up individuals phone numbers, email addresses, addresses they may be associated with, phone numbers and names of individuals close to them (spouse, kids, parents, etc.). We then take this information and start calling these individuals to see if they are interested in selling their property. Unless you are big into sales, this part is usually not fun. However, it can be wildly successful, so suck it up and make the calls.
Our next method is the simplest one, we look at properties for sale on Craigslist and Facebook that are for sale by owner. We message them, we view the properties, run the numbers, and offer what we believe will work for us. This method is the easiest but you typically have more competition. This method is nice because you do not have to drive around, you know the person already wants to sell, you can review pictures of the property, and read the description about the sale.
There are other ways to find real estate deals, such as using the MLS, searching county records, foreclosures, auctions, etc. However, we do not use these methods for finding our investments or flips. In time we may use foreclosures but we do not have experience with it yet. We do not use the MLS because the properties are typically over priced or at market value, which does not leave us with a lot of room for profit margin. MLS also has a lot of competition because anyone can view it. We did see one property which was a fixer upper for sale on the MLS. We went and toured it, made rough numbers for what we could pay to get our profit margin, put in an offer, and had no luck. While we were there, we saw at a minimum of 7 other groups tour the property in 30 minutes.
There are a lot of ways to find real estate deals. Most of them take time and effort to get though. If you are looking for real estate, start with some of these techniques and keep up with the repetitions. The more you do something, the more likely you will be to get great at it and succeed.
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